Monte Carlo trim livens up the design. The engine is fantastic. Good residuals.
Not long ago I reviewed the Skoda Fabia in SE trim. My conclusion for that car was that it was boring to look at with the only saving grace being the engine. So, I decided to take another look at the Fabia range and properly review a model that is designed to appeal to a younger crowd and turn heads – the complete opposite of what the Fabia is all about (minus VRS models, of course). The result was a 2-week test drive of the limited edition Fabia Monte Carlo. What’s it like? Read on to find out more.
The Skoda Fabia has always been a tougher sell than a Seat Ibiza or Volkswagen Polo – if motorists don’t understand the whole value for money thing, it’s easy to look at the Fabia and immediately write it off due to its hum-drum style. It sits taller than either of its sister cars and it’s the least aggressively styled of the lot. Due to this, it is driven mostly by females, at least that’s what I have seen over the past 2 weeks of driving one.
Monte Carlo trim is based on SE, but it benefits from sporty styling, including a black roof and black details on the body. It also benefits from unique alloy wheels. The result is a Fabia that looks fantastic, even more so than a top of the line vRS and if there was a Fabia that could steal away from sales from the Ibiza and Polo, this is it.
I received a few admiring glances during my time with the Fabia Monte Carlo, mostly from female Vauxhall Corsa drivers. This Fabia is undoubtedly a great looking super mini, and because it’s limited edition, it should appeal to a younger crowd too.
The character of a car to drive is always determined by its engine in my opinion, and I have to say that the 1.2-litre turbocharged petrol unit in this Fabia is fantastic. It only boasts 105 bhp and 129 lb /ft of torque, but it’s extremely flexible and pulls hard in second and third gear. It is in fact more than capable of keeping up with bigger engine cars up to 50 mph, which means it’s perfectly suited for town driving and racing up motorway slip roads. This engine is mated to a 6-speed manual gearbox which is notch-free and extremely slick – 6th gear will pull at 45 mph, which means that refinement is always excellent on the move. Around town, the small dimensions of the Fabia really come into their own, and combined with a tight turning circle, the Fabia is easy to park and extremely good at nipping in and out of lanes. I have driven this cars sister, the Volkswagen Polo, and although the Fabia lacks the same level of refinement overall as the Polo, it’s not far off despite costing much less.
The Skoda Fabia is due for a face lift soon, which means new seats and a new dash, but even so the Fabia feels fantastic to be in. Everything has a high quality feel to it and it outshines the likes of a Ford Fiesta in every way, sans style. The seats are comfortable and supportive, and the dashboard is one piece of soft-touch loveliness. The Fabia shares the same switchgear as its more expensive sister, the Polo, and so it feels great. Unlike the Ibiza and Polo, the Fabia is only available with 5-doors, and there’s plenty of space in the rear for even the tallest of adults and the fussiest of children. Boot size is good too, at 300-litres without the seats folded down.
With thanks to its small capacity turbocharged petrol engine, the Skoda Fabia 1.2 TSI 105 Monte Carlo is rated for 53.3 miles per gallon on a combined cycle by Skoda. In the real world, I would say that is wholly achievable – I returned an average of 51.4 miles per gallon on a 300 mile round trip, and in town, the on-board computer never read below 38 miles per gallon, which is very good indeed.
To tax, this Fabia is £105 per year with a CO2 rating of just 124 g/km – this is incredible, especially considering that this particular engine does not boast start/stop technology and is over 3 years old now. When the facelift Fabia does come out, I expect and updated version of this engine to head the line-up.
Trim and equipment
This particular version of the Skoda Fabia is the most expensive you can buy, no matter what engine you go for. As noted above, Monte Carlo trim is based on SE, but it benefits from sporty styling, including a black roof and black details on the body as well as unique alloy wheels. You also get air conditioning, front fog lights, CD / MP3 / iPod connectivity, Bluetooth, an alarm, and cruise control costs just £175 extra – I always recommend this because it’s an optional extra second hand buyers always look out for.
On-the-road the Skoda Fabia 1.2 TSI 105 Monte Carlo costs £14,330. For that you get a fantastic looking super mini and one that is a hoot to drive, with a flexible engine, good refinement and lots of practicality. It lacks the badge appeal of a Volkswagen Polo or the sportiness of a Seat Ibiza, but it offers its own unique charm that in my opinion makes it worth the money asked of it. If you like the sound of how this Fabia drives but you aren’t keen on the looks, a Skoda Fabia with the same engine in Elegance trim will cost you just £13,895. For £13,670 there is also a less powerful version of this engine with 86 bhp in Monte Carlo trim.
Ultimately, the Skoda Fabia is a stunning little super mini. The best buys will be second hand, but if you’re after a unique little car that’ll turn heads, a brand new Monte Carlo is the one you want.